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God had blessed Israel with two wives and twelve sons, but Israels sons had trouble getting along with one another. Because Joseph was born to Israel in his old age, Israel openly favored him, inciting the other brother hatred. In a fit of jealousy, Josephs quarreling brothers sold him into slavery and then told Isaac he had been devoured by a wild animal. The man who had deceived his father was now deceived by his own sons. Although the seventeen-year-old Joseph was on his way to Egypt in chains, God had a plan for Joseph, a journey that would take him from the pit to power. And God would be with him every step of the way.
God and Joseph forged a trustworthy relationship. God was with Joseph as he served in the house of Potiphar. God was with him when he was falsely accused and sent to prison. God gave Joseph the ability to bless the people he came in contact with there. Eventually God gave Joseph the successful interpretation of Pharaohs dreams, and at thirty years of age Joseph was appointed second in command of all Egypt, because it was part of Gods plan not only to rescue Joseph but his chosen people.
When the brothers came close to him, he said to them, I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold as a slave to go to Egypt. Now dont be worried or angry with yourselves because you sold me here. God sent me here ahead of you to save peoples lives...and to keep you alive in an amazing way. So it was not you who sent me here, but God.
Trust the LORD with all your heart,
and dont depend on your own understanding.
Remember the LORD in all you do,
and he will give you success.
Dont depend on your own wisdom.
Respect the LORD and refuse to do wrong.
Then your body will be healthy,
and your bones will be strong.
When a seven-year famine swept the land, Egypt was the only place people could buy grain. Among the early buyers Joseph recognized his own brothers, but they didnt recognize him. God had healed Josephs resentment toward his brothers, and his heart was overwhelmed at their presence. However, Joseph wanted to know if they had changed their ways. Had they repented, or were they still untrustworthy? So he set up an elaborate plan to see if they would abandon their younger brother Benjamin, as they had abandoned him years before. When Joseph learned that they had changed, that they would not abandon their brother, he could hold back no longer, and he gave his brothers the surprise of their lives. He told them who he was.
They were all alive because God had been at work. He had used the brothers spiteful actions to fulfill a plan that was beyond their ability to know.
Joseph moved the whole family to Egypt and was reunited with his father, his brothers, and their families.
Reflection: Despite his own brothers turning against him, Joseph refused to be entangled by resentment. He refused to think himself a victim, blaming others for his circumstances. Instead, he trusted the ever-present God, and over and over again in Josephs story, we find the words the Lord was with Joseph. What the brothers meant for evil, God used for goodfor Joseph, his brothers, and for the nations he saved from starvation. As we put our trust in God and let go of our resentment or bitterness, God can work through us also to implement his plans on earth.
HEARTLIGHT® Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Text copyright © 1997, Multnomah Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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